1. After reaching base on a high pop up that probably should have been fielded by Marcus Thames in the bottom of the first, Jacoby Ellsbury took off for second base in an 0-1 count. Jorge Posada's throw to second sailed wide right and Ellsbury ended up taking third base. He scored on a sac fly by the next batter, Kevin Youkilis, to put the Sox up 1-0. Giving away three free bases will do that to you.
2. Nick Swisher tied the game in the top of the second by driving in Robinson Cano on a double to right. The Yanks loaded the bases with one away but Curtis Granderson struck out and Derek Jeter grounded into a force play to end the inning.
3. In the bottom of the third, Ellsbury reached base again, this time leading off with a legitimate double. Two batters later, Victor Martinez took A.J. Burnett deep for a two run homer on a 0-1 fastball that caught too much of the plate before ending up in the Sox bullpen in right-center.
4. The Yanks came back in a big way, loading the bases against Jon Lester with no one out in the 5th. They plated three runs in the frame, one each on a fielders choice by Mark Teixeira, a double by A-Rod and a sac fly by Robinson Cano. This put them them ahead 4-3.
5. That lead was short lived as A.J. Burnett lost another battle against Victor Martinez in the 5th. Dustin Pedrioa had singled in the previous at bat and scored when Martinez lofted a double high off the Green Monster.
6. Hideki Okajima had runners on first and second with two outs in the top of the 8th when Derek Jeter came to the plate. For what seemed like the 6th or 7th time already this season, Jeter grounded out to softly to short, except this time he was bailed out by a poor throw from Marco Scutaro that Kevin Youkilis couldn't quite scoop. With the bases loaded, Nick Johnson worked a 5 pitch walk and drove in his first run of the season to give the Yanks a 5-4 lead.
7. Joe Girardi got to tinkering in the bottom half of the 8th when he started the inning with David Robertson, pulled him after he gave up a single to Youk and brought in Damaso Marte to face David Ortiz. Papi flied out to center and Joba Chamberlain was called on with Adrian Beltre due up.
At that point, Beltre was 2-3 with a walk on the night, but Joba shut him down, inducing a swinging strike three on a ball well off the plate low and away. J.D. Drew was due up next and stuck out swinging, the at bat culminating with whiffs over two perfectly placed sliders. Joba was sitting between 94 and 96 with his fastball and responded with an emphatic fistpump when he got out of the inning.
8. Robinson Cano dropped his bat as soon as he made contact with an 0-1 slider from Scott Atchinson and sure enough and that sucker found the seats down the right field line, giving Mariano Rivera an extra run to work with in the bottom of the 9th.
9. Mo didn't need that cushion, although he did allow a double to Marco Scutaro that landed between Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner in left-center. He recorded one strikeout (Ellsbury) and induced two fly balls from Mike Cameron and Dustin Pedroia, the latter ending the game and giving the Yanks their first win of the season. FINALLY!
IFs, ANDs & BUTs
- Three times early in the game, Angel Hernandez declined to give time to hitters who asked for it in the box. This is likely related to the pace of play issue that the MLB is so concerned about.
- Speaking of which, my theory from earlier today is not holding up very well considering this game clocked in a snailish 3:48. That makes it 2 minutes longer than last night despite the fact that it wasn't on a national network and fewer runs were scored.
- Both starters were finished after 5 innings, each with 4 R. Only 3 of Burnett's were earned and gave up 7 hits, walked one and hit one batter. Lester allowed 5 hits, 3 walks and two HBP.
- Of the 94 pitches Burnett threw, only 1 was a changeup (which he was supposedly fine tuning in Spring Training), according to MLB data. That pitch was 89MPH, probably isn't enough of a differential off of his fastball to make it an effective pitch.
- Nick Johnson is hitting a perfectly stereotypical .000/.500/.000, the product of 4 walks and 1 HBP in 10 plate appearances.
- Marcus Thames went 0-1 with a walk and a strikeout against Jon Lester. Brett Gardner entered the game in the 6th inning as a pinch hitter and went 1 for 2, that hit coming as a single off of the lefty Okajima.
- Alfredo Aceves pitched two innings of relief and allowed just one baserunner (and that came on a throwing error by Derek Jeter).
- Five relievers combined for four scoreless innings. I guess this means Phil Hughes can stay in the rotation.
- The Yanks had three errors in total, the one I haven't mentioned yet came when Damaso Marte botched a pick off throw and allow Youk to advance to second.
- Randy Winn replaced Nick Swisher for defense in the 9th inning.
- When Mariano Rivera entered the game, he, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada set a record as the only three teammates in any major American professional team sports to appear in a game together for 16 years straight.